Wisdom: ‘The Fright Peddlars’

Image result for images of end of the world

R.J. Rushdoony wrote this short essay in 1976 for The California Farmer. We’ll never need its wisdom more than we need it right now.


Just last year we were all gonna die from Climate Change, or measles, or whatevvuh. Rushdoony wrote, “It exalts some scientific plannedrs as the only ones with the answers, and it makes the rest of us a herd of cattle headed for the stockyards, unless we listen to them.” Sound familiar?

When Rushdoony was a schoolboy they were “teaching” kids that the world would run out of everything in 20 years or so, and that the Kellogg-Briand Pact would surely prevent another world war from starting. It’d be funny if the punchline weren’t World War II.

I remember what the Lord said to Isaiah: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isaiah 2:22)

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

18 responses to “Wisdom: ‘The Fright Peddlars’

  • marlene

    Replacing “bomb” with “virus,” Clive Staples Lewis said: “This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by a [coronavirus], let that [virus] when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about [viruses]. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.” Other replacement words come to mind.

    • leeduigon

      Absolutely great–thanks, Marlene: that’s words of wisdom.

    • leeduigon

      P.S.–Where does that quote come from? It’s worth posting independently.

      • marlene

        In 1948 he published an essay titled, “On Living in an Atomic Age.” Although it was written 72 years ago, it is very relevant to the coronavirus pandemic that we are dealing with today:

        “This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

  • Watchman

    Here’s another quote written in the atomic age and slightly modified to fit our current circumstance: “In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the coronavirus was discovered: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the coronavirus has added one more chance of a painful and premature death to a world that already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.” -C.S. Lewis

  • thewhiterabbit2016

    That’s one of the beauties of this Blog – it recognizes the power of God. I remember when President Jimmy Carter was telling us we were running out of oil, and now America is energy independent and exporting energy to the world. Has Carter ever apologized for his statement? No! It is like the local weather man warning of a big storm coming overnight and when it doesn’t materialize the next weather broadcast he/she says nothing about it like it was never said.

  • Phoebe

    And today all the stores around here have toilet paper — and are refusing to accept returns. 🙂

    Unfortunately, though, there’s been a run on cat litter (no pun intended) and my autoship from my usual pet supply source has been delayed about a week, so it’s a good thing I had an extra box in reserve. Okay, so I’m a bit of a pack rat myself, even in normal times — but not to the extent of what was going on last week. I just like to have a backup of everything, in case of illness or bad weather conditions.

    Lee, I’d like to request “Just a Closer Walk with Jesus” for tomorrow.

    • leeduigon

      You’ve got it, Phoebe: first post of the morning.
      Our Chewy delivery is also late.

      • Phoebe

        Sorry, I should have said, “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.”

      • Phoebe

        Speaking of Chewy…. I got out to Kroger this morning during Old Folks Hour — and I hadn’t realized before that so many old folks shopped at that Kroger! — hoping against hope that all their cat litter wasn’t sold out. I marveled at how well they’d managed to restock everything, and I did manage to get a 20-pound box of Iggy’s litter, as well as a week’s supply of food. Yay! … And then I got home to discover an email from Chewy saying my litter order had shipped. Oh well, now I have a backup box for the next panic. And a followup message has just come in saying the shipment may take 3 days instead of the usual overnight. So I’m glad I took the trip to the Old Folks’ Store — I mean Kroger.

        Oh, and the shelves were packed to bursting with toilet paper as well.

        • leeduigon

          I need to stay home and rest today, but tomorrow I’ll be back at the Stop & Shop. On Monday they had a lot of empty shelves, so we shall see what’s up with them tomorrow.

          Our business with Chewy has become confused. *sigh*

  • unknowable2

    At the time that piece was written by Rushdoony, I was just entering adulthood and it was a time of great uncertainty. We were running out of petroleum and the predictions were incredibly dire. I lived for the day; still a moral Christian life, but I bought cars I could barely afford and made no long term plans. It seemed as if it was all part of the Last Days and I might as well enjoy everything I could before the Tribulation dawned.

    I do believe that there will be an End Times and a Tribulation, bit I’m no longer convinced I will live to see it firsthand. More to the point, I have no influence in the matter. All of the things I worried about didn’t happen, but other things I never worried about did happen.

    The current situation with COVID 19 has many characteristics of a panic. Our “honest and trustworthy” news media did everything in their power to heighten the sense of dread. In many ways, the media response to this has reminded me on doom & gloom preachers, so obsessed with eschatology that they have never taken notice of the love and mercy of our God. So obsessed with their message that they never contemplate the fact that their earlier predictions have never come true.

    COVID 19 is nothing to trifle with, but it’s killed roughly one out of 14,000 people, earthwide. I do not personally know one person that has had it. Not one person. i don’t think that I know anyone that knows anyone that has had it. I know that a couple of national level politicians tested positive for it and a few celebrities. I believe that in hindsight, the measures of the last two weeks will be seen as folly of the highest order. Wash your hands, avoid close contact in public and chances are quite good that you’ll be fine. beyond that, there are innumerable things out there that you can catch and it appears that the odds of being killed by a milder, yet more prevalent disease, such as influenza are likely greater.

    The costs of panic are high. Someone in Arizona ingested fish tank cleaner because it was said to contain chloroquine, and he ended up dead. Even if he had COVID 19, chances are good that he’d have been just fine had he not panicked and made a very poor choice based upon sketchy information.

    I remember the movie The Right Stuff, about the Edwards AFB test pilots and the Mercury astronauts. One line in the movie that stood out was spoken to someone looking for recruits for the astronaut program and that line was: “panic is one thing they don’t respond to”. That line shaped my character to some extent. Panic in an airplane and you are likely to hit the ground in a most ungraceful manner. Panic when there’s a virus outbreak and you might end up drinking something which can kill you. Panic is a lousy way to inform your decision making process.

    Sadly, panic sells quite well.

    • Phoebe

      Agreed. Most panic is political and meant to serve a political end.

      Also agreed about the greater prevalence of influenza, which no one is reporting on. Two years ago, when three (count ’em, 3!) virulent strains of flu were going around, in addition to the “regular” seasonal flu, almost everyone I knew either had one of the flus, was getting one of them, or was recovering from one of them. The “B” strain in particular was a bad one. For people who recovered from “B,” the recovery time was at least three weeks. I myself caught that one, and just as I was finally recovering, I came down with the gastrointestinal strain. It was a ghastly season. Tens of thousands died, and, as I’ve said, almost everyone I knew went through one strain or another, to a greater or lesser extent.

      The difference that year? No panic, no shutdown, no wrecking of human networks or ruining of people’s livelihoods and lives. In fact, the help I got then from a friend from church — bringing me soup and salad from a local grocery that had a soup-and-salad bar and a hot bar in its deli — wouldn’t be possible now. For one thing, the soup-and-salad and hot bars have been shut down, and for another thing, my friend wouldn’t even know I was sick, because he wouldn’t notice that I wasn’t at weekday Mass at my usual time and call to find out what was wrong.

      This last item is a very important one that people seem to be overlooking: The shutdown destroys the networks that depend on being with other people and noticing when patterns change, when things are going wrong, when people need help.

      And of course dividing people like this is part of controlling them. As I said at the beginning, most panic is political and meant to serve a political end.

      • leeduigon

        We already have more “social distancing” than we need. Way more.

      • unknowable2

        We are experiencing victimization by a narcissistic culture which can’t get enough of itself. I don’t believe that there is some controlling cabal which is orchestrating this but, instead, believe that the “me” generation has brought it upon themselves. Sadly, they’ve brought it upon everyone else, too.

        Satan enjoys this and it is his leadership that has encouraged narcissism in the first place. There are all sorts of players, greedy for power, that are more than thrilled to participate and to make the most of it.

    • leeduigon

      Panic gets ratings.
      I don’t believe the church I grew up in mentioned the End Times even once.
      Imagine how much more difficult President Trump’s job has been made by all those people trying to subvert him at every opportunity–and they don’t care what happens to the country.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: